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BOYS HOOPS: Kickapoo stifles Joplin early on the way to a road win

Lucas Davis

Kickapoo held Joplin to four field goals in the first half, building a 20-point lead the Chiefs would never relinquish in a 60-20 win over the Eagles on Friday inside Kaminsky Gymnasium.

The Chiefs (10-1) held an eight-point lead over the Eagles (1-6) after the first quarter and pushed the advantage to 20 by the intermission. Kickapoo continued to attack in the second half, cruising to victory in the Eagles’ final home game of the 2023 calendar year.

“I thought it was a bad combination tonight,” first-year Joplin coach Nick Pfeifer said. “They’re a really good team and we didn’t bring our best stuff tonight. Unfortunately, that led to a pretty ugly performance. We still have to keep getting better. This is an experience that should have all of us looking in the mirror and asking ourselves, ‘How can we get better?’”

Kickapoo limited Joplin to a pair of field goals in the first quarter, while scoring the final six of the quarter to take a 14-6 advantage into the second period.

Joplin senior Whit Hafer, who has signed to play football at Missouri, gave the Eagles an early lead after splashing a 3-pointer from the wing to make the score 3-2 a minute and a half into the game.

The Chiefs proceeded to outscore the Eagles 12-3 over the remainder of the opening stanza. Shaun Campbell led Kickapoo with eight points in the first quarter.

“They are really good defensively,” Pfeifer said of Kickapoo’s defensive effort in the first half. “They guard the ball well, they’re in the right position and they do a good job of fighting through screens. Their ball pressure is very good and that makes it very difficult. We struggled to find guys to break that down and make a play for us.”

After scoring the first two baskets of the game for Kickapoo, junior F Jackson Shorter made his mark on the game to open the second period after converting the first three field goals of the period, including a dunk on the break. He added another field goal and a charity to fuel the Chiefs’ 25-8 lead midway through the period.

“He is what I would consider a physical, skilled post,” Pfeifer said of Shorter. “He is strong and has a nice base and is very skilled. He understands where he needs to put himself in order to make plays and help his teammates out as well.”

After starting the quarter on an 11-2 run, Kickapoo ultimately outscored Joplin 16-4 in the second period to take a 30-10 lead into the intermission.

The Chiefs pushed the lead to 30 with two minutes left in the third quarter on an alley-oop connection from Campbell to Shorter to make the score 45-15 and continued to push the pace until the final horn.

Shorter finished with 19 points to lead all scorers, while Campbell had 12 for Kickapoo. 

Carter Harbin and Cooper Williams led Joplin with five points each.
Joplin takes part in the 12 Courts of Christmas basketball tournament with a matchup against Smithville on Dec. 29 and a matchup against Central (St. Joseph) on Dec. 30.


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